Medical organizations and dialysis companies are commending the Biden administration’s March 25 announcement of a partnership with outpatient dialysis clinics to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to patients receiving in-center dialysis.
“Through this partnership, the Administration will provide vaccines directly to dialysis treatment centers so patients who typically go three times a week for treatment are able to get vaccinated at their place of care,” a statement from the White House reads.
The partnership is part of a $10 billion investment “to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines to the hardest-hit and highest-risk communities across the country.”
Patients on dialysis who contract COVID-19 often have severe health outcomes and have a 50% hospitalization rate and a mortality rate of 20% to 30% from COVID-19, according to the statement.
The partnership is the result of an unprecedented collaboration between the White House, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Society of Nephrology (ASN), and dialysis organizations across the United States. ASN and the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) as well as dialysis providers Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), DaVita, and US Renal Care issued statements praising the initiative.
“ASN has been urgently advocating for this decisive action designed to get the vaccine into the arms of one of the most vulnerable groups of people—Americans with kidney failure receiving dialysis—who now will be able to receive the vaccine directly in their dialysis facilities when and where they receive treatment,” ASN President Susan E. Quaggin, MD, said. “Our patients deserve nothing less, and I sincerely thank President Biden, the White House, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for recognizing this reality.”
“Since the start of the pandemic, we have been advocating that kidney patients, especially those on dialysis or living with a transplant, be prioritized,” National Kidney Foundation CEO Kevin Longino said. “The partnership with dialysis clinics announced today will provide meaningful progress towards this goal and will help reduce the risk of increased complications and mortality kidney patients face due to the novel coronavirus, especially in communities of color.”
Rob Kossmann, MD, Chief Medical Officer for FMCNA, noted that most patients with kidney failure who receive treatment in the company’s dialysis centers have hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. “These conditions put our patients at much higher risk of severe complications, hospitalization, and death if they contract COVID-19,” Dr Kossmann said. “They also often face transportation and other challenges that make accessing a vaccine on their own very difficult. As our nurses routinely provide other vaccinations and medications in our dialysis centers, this national rollout is an essential step forward.”
“The dialysis provider community came together to advocate for the needs of our patients, said DaVita CEO Javier Rodriguez. “We commend the Biden administration for providing direct access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Dialysis patients are one of the highest risk and most diverse patient populations. Offering patients direct access to the vaccine in a convenient and trusted site of care improves health equity, addresses challenges with third-party sites and reduces hesitancy rates.”
“We’re extremely pleased that the Biden administration has decided to partner with dialysis centers to more efficiently get vaccine to our vulnerable patients and our staff,” said US Renal Care’s Chief Medical Officer Mary Dittrich, MD. “The White House announcement will immediately reduce barriers that have impeded dialysis’ patients access to COVID-19 vaccines. We’re greatly encouraged by the Biden administration’s action, which will save lives.”
“Dialysis providers routinely vaccinate their patients against influenza, pneumonia and hepatitis B, and they are equipped to vaccinate against COVID-19,” the American Kidney Fund, an advocacy group for individuals with kidney disease, said in its statement. “We need to protect our nation’s dialysis patients from this pandemic as soon as possible, and this decision by the Biden-Harris administration will help accomplish that goal.”
The group added, “We applaud the Biden-Harris administration for its commitment to health equity and in prioritizing the distribution of the vaccine to get it immediately to the populations that most need it, including frontline workers and those with kidney failure.”
- Fact Sheet: Biden Administration announced historic $10 billion investment to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines and build vaccine confidence in hardest-hit and highest-risk communities. March 25, 2021. Press release.
- NKF applauds White House initiative to vaccinate dialysis patients in-center nationwide. March 25, 2021. Press release.
- Fresenius Medical Care North America applauds White House for national vaccine allocation to dialysis centers. March 25, 2021. Press release.
- DaVita statement on government’s nationwide program to vaccinate dialysis patients. March 25, 2021. Press release.
This article originally appeared on Renal and Urology News